Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press
Entering the season, Wesley Matthews was in limbo. The Portland Trail Blazers had just drafted C.J. McCollum in the lottery, and it was suggested that he would eventually take Matthews' job.
But before the season began, McCollum's injury woes continued and Matthews was granted a stay of execution, so to speak.
Matthews responded immediately by dropping at least 20 points in six of the team's first 14 games.
The key to Matthews' success has been his ability to knock down triples at an almost alarming rate. At one point in the season, he was hitting at least 50 percent from deep.
As of this article, he is knocking down a career-high 42 percent from deep and nearly 48 percent from the field. In comparison to last season's 39 and 43, respectively, this marks a huge improvement.
Matthews has always been a solid defender, but now he anchors the perimeter defense and typically draws the opponent's top offensive guard. By utilizing solid size and strength, he rarely gets overpowered.
Additionally, he has better-than-average athleticism and an excellent head on his shoulders.
So where exactly does he fit among the top shooting guards?
Obviously this position has been paced by Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade for the last decade. And of course James Harden has emerged in the past two years as the top off guard in the league.
The next tier consists of Klay Thompson, DeMar DeRozan, Joe Johnson, Arron Afflalo and Eric Gordon.
Then we have the next tier, and here is likely where Matthews falls. O.J. Mayo, Bradley Beal, Monta Ellis and Lance Stephenson are also in the mix.
At this point in his career, only Afflalo exhibits the consistent mix of defense and offense that Matthews does. Additionally, of all the players on this list, only Matthews is considered his team's undisputed third option on offense, yet he still gets numbers that rival the bulk of the players on the third tier.
The Blazers lucked out when they were able to pluck Matthews away from the Utah Jazz a few years ago and were even more fortunate that Matthews has the type of drive that made him a better player after his eventual replacement was drafted.